Op Corporate - Apr 1982
There was a further increase in the workload on the Squadron during April and a total of 1080 man days were spent on Mobile tasks. The principal reason for the high level of activity within both Base and Mobile elements resulted from the decision by HM Government to send a Task Force to the Falkland Islands to repel the Argentine invaders, who took the islands by military invasion on 1 April. This task was to be known as Operation CORPORATE. In support of the Naval Task Force, the RAF commenced an airlift of stores and equipment to Wideawake Airﬁeld, the USAF Air Base on Ascension Island, and initially a Mobile team, led by Flight Lieutenant Jim Stewart and including Flight Sergeant Stu Everitt, Sergeant John McClymont, Corporal Steve Perry, Senior Aircraftmen Dave Salmon and Kit Kitson, was deployed to the island on 2 April.
To assist the Base Flight to cope with the additional workload, 1 SNCO and 24 Cpl/ACs of the
Supplier trade arrived towards the end of the month from various stations within the UK, to be used as additional cargo teams.
Operation CORPORATE Mobile Team Tasks
Flying Ofﬁcer John Buchanan plus a team of5 assisted with the deployment of Nimrod personnel and equipment from RAF Kinloss to Ascension Island.
Flying Ofﬁcer Simon Baxter, Flight Sergeant Ian Berry, Senior Aircraftmen Neil Harrison and Chris Trevelyan deployed to RAF Leuchars for the deployment of Sidewinder missiles to Ascension and specialist equipment for ﬁtment to MV Uganda in Gibraltar.
Flight Sergeant Ian Berry, Sergeant Tony Dunphy and Corporal Chris Thistle reinforced the Gibraltar Air Movements Flight and the recovery of No 12 Squadron Buccaneers to Lossiemouth.
The build up in Ascension continued with a total of4 Mobile Teams deployed. Squadron Leader Cruse (OC MAMF) travelled to Ascension on a fact-finding visit, but then found himself tasked to remain there as OC MAMS and was not destined to return to the UK until after the eventual ceaseﬁre. Flight Lieutenant Stewart and the original team remained in-theatre and were bolstered by the arrival of 3 other teams, which included:
Flight Lieutenant Hugh Rayner Corporal Steve Williams
Flying Ofﬁcer John Buchanan Corporal Chris Thistle
Flying Ofﬁcer Simon Baxter Corporal 'Dinger' Bell
Flight Sergeant Gordon Gray SAC 'Nip' Betts
Flight Sergeant Charlie Grant SAC 'Mac' McDerm0tt
Flight Sergeant Ian Berry SAC Dave Bedford
Sergeant Tony Searle SAC Steve Croston
Sergeant Derek Barron SAC Paul Newman
Sergeant Tony Dunphy SAC Andy Hodgson
Sergeant Dave Giles SAC Martin Read
Operation CORPORATE again dominated the Squadron's work during the month of June. In addition to the continuing commitment at Ascension, Gibraltar and Dakar, an enlarged team of some 11 personnel were placed on immediate standby for deployment to the Falkland Islands. Flight Lieutenant Andy Holliday, Flight Sergeant Dave Wright and Corporal Steve Munday deployed to Port Stanley on 23 June with the remaining personnel, Flying Officer Kettell, Sergeants Ian Newlands and Taff Price, Corporals Jim Rice and Smudge Smith (MAMS Eng), Senior Aircraftmen Neil Harrison, Al Kilpatrick and Brian McVeigh, following on l July.
In July the confrontation with Argentina over the Falkland Islands was over, and the British military presence both there and in Ascension Island was to be maintained until further notice. The situation now affecting the Squadron was an increased workload in manning a Movements organisation on Ascension Island involving a total of4 officers, 7 SNCOs and 24 junior ranks, and providing 2 Movements personnel at Dakar. In addition the Squadron was tasked with fully manning a Movements Flight at RAF Stanley, Falkland Islands with 1 officer, 2 SNCOs and 7junior ranks, drawn entirely from UKMAI\/IS Mobile trained personnel. As the global establishment of Movements officers and airmen had not increased, and lack of recruiting had not provided any surplus manpower for the task, the commitments created an additional workload on the 38 Group units providing Movements manpower. Initially, UKMAMS provided the greater proportion of Movements manpower for Ascension Island, and the total Movements tradesmen requirement at Port Stanley Airfield. The Squadron continued to provide personnel from the Mobile Flight for Ascension Island, Dakar and Stanley but envisaged the need to detach some personnel from the Base Flight to Ascension Island to allow the Mobile Flight to meet other tasking commitments. Everyone was now feeling the strain of longer hours of duty at base because of the absence of so many personnel at these overseas posts.
Operation CORPORATE Mobile Team Task
Flying Ofﬁcer Gavin Richardson, plus a team of l3, deployed to Eastleigh Airport to onmove 42 Commando Royal Marines to Leuchars on their return from the Falklands campaign, ex SS Canberra.
Over half of the Mobile Flight were still detached to the South Atlantic and the Squadron planned from September to include Base Flight personnel for rotation to Ascension Island on a 3 monthly basis.
Tasking continued to be very heavy and, in order to cope with the Mobile commitment, BAMF 'D' Shift was disbanded from 1 September and its 29 personnel of all ranks were employed on Mobile tasks. The other 3 shifts worked without full standdown to cover the 24 hour 7 days a week Station movements commitment. The pattern was to continue until 6 October.